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Just Ask Betsy....The Be Visible BlogWhere there’s no such thing as a stupid question… about the Web!

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Facebook Changes: Why the Anger?


Facebook rolled (some say “steamrolled”) out major platform changes this week, in case you haven’t noticed! Those of us in the industry knew they were coming, although most of us didn’t know exactly what all the changes would be.

Facebook has the right to make changes on their platform. Some industry folks see all the new features as being Facebook’s direct reaction to the threat of Google+. Some see the changes (as I do) as not only a reaction to the features that make Google+ so easy to use, but also Facebook’s need and desire to keep users on the site for the majority of their Internet usage, therefore reducing the need for them to leave to search for music, to buy products, to chat with friends, to see real-time news, and more.

When I work with clients I often use this analogy to illustrate how users feel about Facebook: Facebook is a house. People like to hang out in their house with their family and friends. The more they can do without having to leave their “house” the more comfortable they feel.

Where the Problem Lies

Imagine you are renting the house (basically users are “renting” space on Facebook’s platform, albeit for free) and while you are at work, your landlord comes into the house, moves most of your stuff around, hides other stuff, and piles a lot of new stuff that you never asked for in places you don’t expect. The landlord leaves you a note saying, “I think you will like the house better this way”.

How would you feel? Invaded? Disrespected? Really Angry?

That’s how many Facebook users feel right now. If you check the Twitter hashtag #newfacebook you’ll see thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of complaints and in many cases, anger.

I believe that Facebook users will get used to the new changes, and most will find them really useful, as I do.  The new features make Facebook better for users and  better it is for markers.

The way in which Facebook changes were made is the reason that users are angry. Anger is not what any business wants their customers (or tenants) to feel.

I’m looking forward to hearing how this all plays out. Would love to hear your comments.


Betsy – Great post. I addressed this issue in one of my blog posts as well. I agree that when the news came out about Google+ opening up to the public, Facebook felt they needed to make some drastic changes to keep up. Facebook is now directly linked to my Spotify account, and my “friends” are lucky enough to see exactly what song and artist I’m listening to and when I’m listening.  
I like your analogy about our landlord switching everything in our house around and expecting us to like it. A part of me disagrees though. We aren’t paying to use the platform. I think that Facebook thinks it makes it O.K. to switch it up on us.  
However, Facebook needs to utilize two-way symmetric communication with its users. Changing the interface is fine, but wouldn’t it help to listen to what the users like/don’t like? They need to start building a relationship with its users to ensure they don’t leave for Google+.  
Like you, I think that Facebook users will grow to love the changes. One thing I miss though is posting a video to a friend’s wall. I’m in NYC and my sister is in Buffalo, N.Y. Instead of simply writing on her wall, I enjoyed (and I think she did too) leaving a video on her wall to make the message more personal when we don’t have time to Skype.  
I just started reading your blog, but I'm exited to read more. Thanks!
Posted @ Friday, October 07, 2011 2:47 PM by Leah Crusan
Sorry but I disagree. I want the news from my friends, all my friends, as it comes in when it comes in. I don't want FB aggregating the news for me (using some undisclosed algorithm) and deciding what are the important stories to present to me. I want to decide that for myself. 
I think the problem is that there are two groups of fb users out there, those who read and update their fb daily and those who only use it every few days or so. The every so often group will be happy with the new format I assume. 
For the daily users though it is infuriating and just as though fb doesn't know we don't exist or at least if they do, they don't care about us.  
Why can't we have both options - chronological as the standard and Top and Most Recent News as the enhanced version. 
Some people have suggested that the Top News items is a precursor to fb selling space to people who want to draw our attention to something........
Posted @ Monday, October 10, 2011 10:12 AM by hazel mary jackson
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